Pop Culture
Jan 09, 2009, 04:34AM

The nation's neglected front yard

Even before approximately 2 million people were predicted to show up for Inauguration, the National Mall couldn't keep up with the 25 million annual flow of traffic.

Knowing DC, there's nothing really to be done:

If 700 acres in the shape of a kite can tell the story of a nation, the Mall is the embodiment of America. Its major monuments honor three wars and four presidents. It hosts the July 4 celebrations, contains war protests and oversees the nation's important conversations, including immigration, abortion and civil rights. It reminds us of where we came from and who we are.

Today, though, the Mall is a study in contrasts, glorious and broken all at once. The story of its place in history and its sad decline is best understood on foot, and so Line, who bikes past the monuments every day and walks the grounds every chance he gets, agrees to show us 23 of the nation's most treasured and timeworn blocks.


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